The Utility Regulation and Competition Office which is also known as OfReg, has officially been established by Cabinet and new CEO J. Paul Morgan is quickly settling in and setting up the new organisation.
Although he has only been in office for three weeks, Mr. Morgan has already identified some challenges and set goals for the regulatory body.
“There is a lot happening all at once but I see three particular challenges facing this new entity,” said Mr. Morgan. “The first is managing the amalgamation of three organisations, all with quite different cultures, into one while taking on the responsibility for a fourth sector as soon as the legislation to give OfReg responsibility for the water sector is enacted. In addition, all the regulatory processes have to be reviewed, and where necessary, adapted for compliance with the new legal framework. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, we have to gain the trust of all stakeholders.”
Addressing the third challenge specifically, he explained that principles such as consistency, transparency, impartiality and independence will be key to forging a positive relationship with stakeholders.
He said: “If we can demonstrate consistently that these are the core principles by which we act in our decision making, our stake holders will value how and why we operate the way we do. Even if there is disagreement with some decisions or positions that we take, I hope that our stakeholders will appreciate the consistency with which we act and therefore trust our judgements.”
Mr. Morgan is uniquely positioned to take on these challenges. A veteran regulatory professional from Jamaica with over 20 years in utility and telecommunications regulation, he also served 24 years as a senior manager and practicing professional engineer at the senior management levels in electric and water utility management and operations.
He was a founding deputy director general, serving for two consecutive three-year terms at the Office of Utilities Regulation in Jamaica before being appointed as director general and chairman, a position which he held for two consecutive terms. Before that he was a key member of the consulting team engaged by the Government of Jamaica to put together that organisation. He currently serves as a non-executive director and deputy chairperson of the Utility Regulation and Competition Authority of the Bahamas, and has been practising as an independent consultant on regulatory policy and related issues in the energy, telecommunications and water sectors to several regional utilities regulators.
Mr. Morgan says his immediate short-term goals are organisational in nature.
“First, we have to organise ourselves in order to deliver on our mandate efficiently. There are some overlaps in functional areas, as one would expect, so we will focus on identifying those activities and skills which can be shared across all sectors. We do have some skills gaps that must be filled even as we put a credible succession planning process in place.”
As for the long-term, Mr. Morgan’s vision is for the Cayman Islands to be the Singapore of the Caribbean. An island state like Cayman, Singapore is recognised as a success story in the use of information & communications technology and innovation to the benefit of its economic development.
Mr. Morgan and his executive team believe that the Cayman Islands can become the “intellectual” technology centre of the Caribbean if it can provide a backbone infrastructure which is reliable and delivers competitive connectivity with the world, eventually developing another leg to the economy.